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Banned and Challenged Books

Banned and Challenged Books

Banned and Challenged Books

Removed. Restricted. Relocated.

The American Library Association condemns censorship and works to ensure free  access to information. Every year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from media stories and voluntary reports sent to OIF from communities across the U.S.

What is a banned, challenged or relocated book?Adapted from ALA's About Banned & Challenged Books 


A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. 


A banning is the removal of those materials.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.  Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.


Relocating materials can be an outcome to a challenge and can be a form of censorship. 

Why are books challenged?

from ALA's ABout Banned and Challenged Books 

Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. See  Notable First Amendment Cases.

Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. the material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
  2. the material contained "offensive language"
  3. the materials was "unsuited to any age group"

Banned and Challenged Books Reading List 

List of most common banned and challenged books that are available through WMU Libraries.

Learn More